My Mans

Our Favorite Sketches of 2014

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The Austin Sketch Fest producer team picks some of our favorite sketches of the year. It might not surprise you that some of them are from the 2014 Festival.
Courtney Hopkin – Marketing, Productions & Operations for ASF, performer with Your Terrific Neighbors

Saturday Night Live, “Wing”

It’s hard to do bad acting well. That sounds counterintuitive but it’s true. And Kyle Mooney could teach a master class in it. One of the things I like about Mooney and Bennett, like the Lonely Island guys before them, they’re able to distill a trope down to the pinpoint of what makes it so awful that it’s hilarious. This alternate-reality 90s sitcom is pure in its absurdity.

Key & Peele, “Aerobics Meltdown”

I watched this show on a Friday. I thought about it all weekend. The music just playing over and over. Sometimes I thought about how I would have ended the sketch. Sometimes I thought about the thought process that lead to the sketch. Sometimes I just thought about their aerobics faces. But whatever reason, I keep thinking about it. Keep Dancing.

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Sam Malcolm – Business & Financial for ASF, performer with STAG Comedy

Stone Cold Fox, “Kevin’s Garage”

I first saw this when reviewing submissions for last year’s fest, and it blew me away. Brandon Scott Jones’ performance is great, and I love how he isn’t interrupted by a ‘straight man’ or other sketch device. They just let him go. It’s a delight.

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Will Cleveland – Productions & Operations for ASF, Programming Director for ColdTowne TV

Rachel Bloom & the cast of Quick and Funny Musicals, “Sugar Ray: The Jukebox Musical”

I’m a big fan of Rachel Bloom. Ever so often there are sketches I love so much that I say, “I wish I had thought of that.” This is one of those. Plus the singing is great.

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Mac Blake – Marketing for ASF, Performer with STAG Comedy

My Mans, “Burger Basketball”

Picking my favorite live sketch was super tough. There was so much good stuff at ASF last year, but the show I keep thinking about is Mark Raterman and Tim Robinson’s My Mans show. “Burger Basketball” is not the name of a particular sketch – just a moment in the show. Mark was playing both the customer and Manager at an airport burger place. Tim was the guy behind the counter. As Mark would jump across stage to play both characters, Tim started getting in his way – intentionally derailing the sketch. It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever seen on stage. At some point burgers were thrown and again the sketch’s “story” paused so Mark and Tim could take turns shooting burgers into a garbage can. Their show was a constant answer to “what’s the funniest thing we could do right now.”

Photo by Steve Rogers

Key & Peele, “Aerobics Meltdown”
Key & Peel do three things really well. They’re hilarious, whoever makes their wigs is a goddmaned genius, and they are pitch perfect when it comes to copying the look and feel of the genres they parody. So funny, legitimately suspenseful, and it looked great. Plus solid wigs.

Courtney Sevener – Hospitality, Marketing for ASF, Performer with The Hustle Show

Girls with Brown Hair, “Two Chefs One Eye”

Girls with Brown Hair from NYC absolutely blew me away at Austin Sketch Fest 2014. I am still enamored with their live performance of “Two Chefs One Eye” – they did a video version of it as well (below). This sketch reminds me that comedy can literally be about anything, even a concept that is super simple in its hilariousness. It’s all in how you sell it, and they sell it. A heavy metal theme song and 3 eye patches between the two of them while fumbling around with sharp kitchen tools – what’s not to love? Girls with Brown Hair are inspiring.

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Lance Gilstrap – Artistic Director for ASF, Performer with STAG Comedy

“Too Many Cooks”

Too Many Cooks is a pretty non-traditional sketch, but works in so many different ways. Right as you think it has worn its welcome, it finds a new way to surprise you. It turns into a worm that crawls around inside your brain.

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Michael Jastroch – Executive Director for ASF, Performer with Jonestroch

“For Profit University”

Most people will say Too Many Cooks, and they’ll be right. But pound for pound this Adult Swim Infomercial has everything I love: bizarre world building, strange payoffs, corporate double speak, the works!

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What’s YOUR favorite sketch of 2014, internet reader?

ASF Hot Seat: MY Mans

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My Mans was set to perform in Austin a couple years ago at the Out Of Bounds Comedy festival, but RIGHT before that happened one half of the Mans, Tim Robinson was whisked away to SNL. Tim and Mark Raterman are now returning to Austin to fill that My Mans-shaped hole in our hearts.
When is the last time My Mans performed together?

Mark Raterman: We last performed together probably 2, 2 1/2 years ago in Chicago as My Mans. We’re both members of the improv group Cook County Social Club, though, too. So we’ve improvised together a lot with the other guys in that group since the last official My Mans show.

You guys have worked on a lot of projects. What is it about My Mans that makes it stand out?

Mark: I think if people like the show it’s partly due to our dynamic on stage. We’ve performed together a lot and we enjoy each other’s comedy. We generally laugh at the same stuff. And structurally (along with our director and co-writer Andy Miara) we’ve tried to create a unique format that marries stand alone sketches with a narrative arc. It’s something that’s been done here and there, but we have our own take on it, I think.

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What’s your process like for creating a My Mans show?

Mark: Usually the three of us (Andy, Mark, Tim) get together and share a bunch of sketch ideas and bits to see what’s making us laugh at that given time. Then we test those ideas out on stage in front of an audience. After a few shows like that we not only see what’s working, but what kinds of themes and connections start emerging. At some point, Andy puts together a handful of running orders and we work those until we have one solid running order with a cohesive narrative.

What can people expect from your ASF show?

Mark: Something close to what I’ve described above. But probably also a lot of improvising, forgetting lines, cues and entrances because we haven’t run a My Mans show in a few years. Which hopefully will create some fun moments.

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What are you looking forward to about ASF?

Mark: Eating pork belly tacos at Tyson’s.

You have two chances to catch My Mans at ASF. Friday, May 23rd at 8:30pm with Brandon Gulya (TICKETS), or Saturday, May 24th at 8:30pm with Stone Cold Fox and Maggie Maye (TICKETS). Both shows are at Spider House Ballroom.

Dave Buckman's ASF Picks

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Dave Buckman already told us why he couldn’t be more excited for Ithamar Enriquez’s show. We asked Dave for some more festival picks. Here’s what he sent us.
5 OTHER SHOWS I CAN’T WAIT FOR:

5) Wink Planet
Tuesday May 20th, 8:30pm, ColdTowne Theater.

A hot new sketch troupe of recent ColdTowne graduates who are some of the funniest new kids on the block.

4) Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting
Saturday, May 24th, 10pm, Spider House Ballroom.

These two ladies from NYC have been coming to Austin for the past several years to perform at the Ladies are Funny Festival and at Out of Bounds. They always bring the heat and they always sellout. Every time they come, they seem to ignite and inspire a frenzy of female sketch comics in Austin to write their own shows.

3) “I Didn’t See You There” The Show of One-Person Shows
Featuring Adam Trabka, Amy Wright, Byron Brown, Curtis Luciani, Erika May McNichol, Juliet Prather, Kirk Johnson, Kyle Sweeney, Scott Raney, and Will Cleveland
Tuesday, May 20th, 8:30pm, ColdTowne Theater.

A murders row of some of the funniest improvisers in Austin Improv right now making fun of one-person shows?
Yes, please!... Curtis, Erika and Byron alone would be worth the ticket price, but you also get Kirk, Kyle and Scott a triumvirate of alpha-male lunacy. Newcomers Amy, Juliet and Will are all about to have break out summers on Austin’s comedy stages and this will be one of your last chances to catch Bad Boys’ Adam Trabka before he moves to Portland in June.

2) Hot Property
Wednesday May 21st, 10pm, ColdTowne Theater.

Lance & Nick, (the Mick and Keith of Midnight Society) + David & Mac (the Gervais and Merchant of Mascot Wedding) are not only all brilliant comedians in their own right, but they make this troupe special in that they perform sketchprov. They have a loose frame of beats within a sketch but the way they get to those jokes are improvised. No one else on the scene does this and it has the effect of watching a masterful Jam Band like the Black Crowes work their way through a setlist.

1) My Mans
Friday, May 23rd and Saturday, May 24th, 8:30pm, Spider House Ballroom

Seth Meyers has declared that Tim Robinson (SNL, Late Night with Seth Meyers) one of the funniest people on the planet…and clips online of My Mans proves him right. He was so underused on his one on-screen season on SNL, it’s a shame because he is a true comic talent. My Mans was supposed to headline Out of Bounds 2 years ago but he got SNL and had to bow out (Noel Wells had to do the same thing this past year), so it’s been a long time coming to get them here in Austin. I can’t wait to see them live.

MY MANS to Perform at the 2014 Austin Sketch Fest

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You’ve waited and waited and it’s finally here. The first headliner announcement for ASF 2014!
Austin Sketch Fest is proud to announce that My Mans featuring SNL’s Tim Robinson will be one of the headliners of this year’s festival!

My Mans is three mans: Mark Raterman, Tim Robinson, and Andy Miara. Mark and Tim perform. Andy directs. The group creates live shows as well as video pieces. Sometimes they do shows for things like the TBS Just For Laughs Festival and the Chicago Sketch Fest. Both Tim and Mark are members of the lauded comedy group, the Cook County Social Club. Tim is a writer on SNL after spending one season as a featured player.
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The Fifth annual Austin Sketch Fest is happening Memorial Day weekend 2014, showcasing the best scripted comedy from Austin and beyond. Submissions to perform in the festival are open until February 9th.

Here’s their Comedy Central pilot.
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